In the Fair DUI court fight over drivers not rolling down their windows, the Coral Gables police have set their position as to why police need to hold the license in their hands. They claim you can’t see the hologram security feature in the license unless they hold it.
They’re lying. Watch Sgt. Escobar repeat this lie persistently in his testimony, and then see how big of a lie it is.
Don’t believe us? Try it for yourself.
Sheet glass has been transparent for roughly 1000 years. It allows light to pass through.
From a December court appearance on Redlich’s traffic case; From left you can see Sgt. Escobar (the arresting officer), attorney Manuel Guarch for Coral Gables, Warren Redlich, and Traffic Hearing Officer Carman; Photo by Grant Stern of PINAC
We’ve made a lot of progress getting the Fair DUI Flyer into court and it’s time to update our readers.
Working with the journalists from PINAC, Warren challenged a DUI checkpoint in Coral Gables back in August. As we hoped for purposes of getting this into court, Warren was arrested. You read Warren’s description of the arrest, and you can watch PINAC’s video of it here:
There are two court cases going. Warren was “unarrested” at the scene and then ticketed for “failure to exhibit license.” That traffic case was initially dismissed. Coral Gables hired an attorney who made a motion for a rehearing. The case was reopened and a trial was held on January 13th. County Court Judge Steven Leifman found Warren guilty despite numerous issues that called for a different result. Warren filed his “Notice of Appeal” yesterday (document at bottom).
The ticket is a $129 non-moving, non-criminal violation. Despite what would seem a very minor offense, the Coral Gables attorneys submitted over 50 pages of documents. At the first appearance one attorney showed up for the city. Then two came to the next one, along with the arresting officer. For the trial the city sent at least four attorneys. We estimate they’ve spent over $5000 pursuing a minor non-moving violation. Apparently taxpayers are not well represented in Coral Gables.
The other case – and far more important – is Redlich’s federal lawsuit which was filed on January 1st, and served on the various defendants at the trial and afterward. The full document is at bottom but here’s a picture of part of the first page:
There are many issues raised. The biggest underlying issue we are shooting for is the question of whether a driver has to roll down their window at a checkpoint or traffic stop. Some people think this is an obvious yes, but we disagree and we’re not alone. In December the Kentucky Supreme Court threw out a checkpoint case. The reason was different, but one of the judges wrote this:
Must everyone stop at one of these roadblocks? Can one blow off the officer and speed right past? Can a motorist be cited for not stopping? That question is yet to be decided.
There is little or no case law discussing what a driver is required to do in a checkpoint (as well as in traffic stops for things like speeding). This is the heart of our challenge. We believe drivers retain their rights under the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments and we’re fighting for that.
There’s a lot more in our federal lawsuit, but the most critical part is here:
Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, including but not limited to:
a. An order barring Defendants from conducting any checkpoints; or
b. An order strictly limiting the scope of any checkpoints conducted by
Defendants and limiting the manner in which such checkpoints are
c. An order mandating that Defendants, while conducting checkpoints,
wave through anyone who asserts their constitutional rights without
any inquiry or demands; or
d. An order mandating that Defendants, while conducting checkpoints,
wave through anyone who asserts their constitutional rights without any inquiry or demands unless police have articulable probable cause related to the stated purpose of the checkpoint; and
e. An order mandating that Defendants allow, without any interference or hindrance, people to photograph and record checkpoints using photography and both audio and video recording devices.
A fan of Fair DUI in New York’s Capital Region (Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Saratoga and more) sent us a video. The video shows the Fair DUI flyer for New York State in action in a State Police checkpoint in the town of Brunswick. Note that in New York State drunk driving is commonly referred to as DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and there is a lesser offense called DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired). Drugged driving is called DWAI Drugs.
The Trooper took a brief look at the flyer and just waved the driver through without even asking him to roll down his window. New York is a good state for the Fair DUI flyer. There is no law requiring drivers to hand over their license. All you have to do under NY law is show it through the window. And if you get pulled over for a traffic violation, there is no requirement to sign tickets.
The video consists of two clips. The first clip looks like a handheld camera operated by the driver, possibly a cell phone. The second half is the dashcam. If you look close in the dashcam portion you can see two “Sobriety Checkpoint” signs, one early on the right and one within the checkpoint on the ground on the left.
He reported this took place just outside the city of Troy. Based on our knowledge of the area (Fair DUI founder grew up nearby) we think it was on Route 7, somewhere near the point shown on the map below:
Toward the end of the video you can see the Cap Com credit union sign on the right side.
“There are those who are going to test you from time to time,” said Captain Kurt McKean with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. “Circumventing a checkpoint by holding your driver’s license in the window will not work.”
McKean is the statewide impairment driving enforcement coordinator with the OHP and works DUI checkpoints throughout Oklahoma. He says the law requires you to physically hand over your information.
“State law in the state of Oklahoma, Title 47, requires you any time that you’re stopped by a police officer, not just a state trooper, any law enforcement officer in the state of Oklahoma, you’re required to present a driver’s license and a valid ID,” Capt. McKean said. “We need to physically look at that driver’s license to make sure it’s not been altered, to make sure it actually is their driver’s license.”
We’re sorry to report that Capt. McKean is lying. Oklahoma’s Title 47 does not require drivers to “physically hand over” documents. Title 47, Section 6-112 states:
Every licensee shall have his or her driver license in his or her immediate possession at all times when operating a motor vehicle and shall display the same upon demand of a peace officer.
The statute says “display.” In some states the laws require drivers to “surrender” their documents. While we believe such statutes unconstitutionally infringe on the Fourth Amendment, that doesn’t matter in Oklahoma because the statute doesn’t say it.
Inspired by this story, we have created a Fair DUI flyer for Oklahoma. As always, we encourage drivers to discuss this with a local attorney before using it.
Fair DUI’s Warren Redlich was interviewed on February 21st for a radio show (or podcast) by Greensboro reserve police officer T.J. Bloch. T.J. runs the website Policing Black and White, a growing website. You should be able to see the audio player below.
It was a great conversation though unfortunately we had to cut it short. We’re talking about doing another one soon. If you can’t see the player, this is the link to the full MP3 file.
Bloch is a great guy who was forced, while on active duty, to shoot a woman who was trying to stab him with a knife. Partly as a result of that incident along with other traumatic experiences he retired early from active duty and became a reserve officer.
Offending people across the political spectrum. Today we were on both Fox News and Huff Post Live. Huff Po is below, though of course it’s no longer live. Segment starts at 12:45 into the video. Maybe 12:55.